The Red Deer Buccaneers have one of the youngest defensive backfields in the Alberta Men’s Football League and the Calgary Wolfpack took full advantage of it Saturday.
Wolfpack quarterback Darryl Leason threw for 527 yards and five touchdowns as the defending national champions rolled to a 39-6 victory at Great Chief Park.
“We have a bunch of young guys back there and they’re just missing a bit both mentally and physically,” said Buccaneers head coach Dave Hanni. “We have three or four rookies back there all the time. We’re missing Devon Hand our best cover guy, who has a broken hand, and Keegan Poelzer is only in his second year. Darren Stroschein is the only one with extended experience and he can only do so much.
“So we’re young but that’s what we have. We throw them in there and they learn from their mistakes.
“Overall it was disappointing today, but not surprising, we were up against one of the premier passers in the league,” added Hanni.
But the Bucs did show some bright spots on defence as they limited the Wolfpack to 60 yards rushing and both Keegan and Kenton Poelzer had interceptions.
In fact the Poelzer brothers both had busy days.
Offensively Kenton finished with seven carries for 25 yards and caught three passes for 41 yards while defensively he had three solo tackles and three assisted tackles to go with one pass knocked down and the interception.
Keegan finished with four solo and one assisted tackle to go with the 36-yard return on his interception.
Offensively the Bucs managed only a pair of field goals — 35 and 21 yards — by Jamie Blinkhorn, but overall they moved the ball as well as they have all season.
They finished with 260 yards passing and 56 rushing.
“We’ve been improving offensively all season, today it was over 300 yards, but we’re still a play or two away and letting games get away from us,” said Hanni. “Today Kenton dropped a ball when he had a chance to go all the way. Better teams hit those and better teams rebound from those. But we don’t seem to.”
Backup quarterback Andrew Stannix played the second half and turned in a solid performance, hitting on 14 of 25 passes for 206 yards. He did have one interception in the end zone.
Stannix will be the only quarterback on hand Saturday in Edmonton against the Seahawks.
“Andrew played in a mop-up roll last season and most of this year, but we wanted to get him in there today against some live bullets as he’ll have to go the distance next weekend,” said Hanni.
Greg Thompson played the first half, hitting three of nine for 26 yards. Blinkhorn connected on one pass for 28 yards.
Overall the teams finished with four turnovers each. The Buccaneers threw three interceptions and turned the ball over on downs once while the ’Pack tossed a pair of interceptions and lost two fumbles.
Darryl Leason tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Matt Squires and singles to Mike Leason, Evan Katula and Scott Sargent. Former Ottawa Rough Rider Tom Dixon had five converts, an 18-yard field goal and a single on a wide field goal attempt.
l Blinkhorn finished with five catches for 83 yards, returned two punts for 14 yards and a kickoff 47 yards . . . Corey Pusey had four catches for 38 yards while Ryan Otto grabbed three passes for 30 yards, Adam Donovan two for 42 and Alex Rinehart two for 26 . . . Stroschein finished with four solo tackles and six assisted tackles . . . The Bucs saw their record drop to 0-5 while the Wolfpack sit at 3-2 . . . The Bucs next home action is July 25 against the Parkland Panthers, at 6 p.m.